July Newsletter

Pastor's Note 

I have a hope for us all this Summer. We know that Summer is typically a time of going out, getting away, taking a break. We are in a season now where we can reflect a lot on where we were last year in comparison to this year. Have you done this yet? Maybe you have seen your “memories” pop up on Facebook, mine have been a lot of videos I was producing, trying to help us understand what it means to be connectional and stay in relationship with one another even when we were unable to be together. There was a lot to learn when it came to this, largely because in a crisis the church has been the place of refuge for the country and even for the world. It was so difficult for that to not be the case.

As has been said by me and many others though, as we see cases drop and vaccination increase, we must learn once again what being together looks like and means for us. One thing it must mean though is a reclamation of that aspect of church life that, while understood on a fundamental level, was often taken for granted. The aspect I refer to is that of a family reunion. We have all of us been to one of these gatherings. I must be honest, I love a good family reunion. My wife’s family has been having one for over one hundred years, and I have been privileged to attend three of them (last year’s having been canceled.) The food and fellowship are always great, the family updates, the prayers that are said. There are games for the kids, there is singing, and laughter. You learn the traditions of the family, not so much through information gained, but through participation and observation. You meet people who are new until one day they are not. You are new at some point and then one day you find yourself in charge of some aspect of the reunion.

This sounds a lot like church to me. Certainly, a church must be more than a family reunion. There must be a vision moving forward, inquiry into what God is doing in and among us, calling, developing, and training new leaders. That will all come in due time. But my sincere hope this summer is that both in our lives at church and away from church we can experience some profound sense of reunion with family and with one another here at Bethany. Building, and rebuilding relationships is risky business. But it is also fun.

The good news about reunions is that they are not packed with pressure. You are invited to encounter your friends and family, to laugh, reminisce and catch up. I hope the reunions we have as we move through the year are exciting and fulfilling. It has been great to meet people who are coming back to church for the first time in a year. Or attending their first in-person meeting in a long time. What’s been really amazing is seeing how excited all of you have been to see one another again. My hope is that this will continue throughout the year, and even for years to come.  

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